Another gift

A great friend of my brother passed away recently. He was not my type of fellow – we could never have been friends – but he loved my brother, and my brother loved him, so he was in.

When I met Michael in 1996 after I moved to Vancouver, he was shocked – to the point of utter disbelief – that I had not remembered him from an earlier visit to Vancouver. “What did we discuss?” I asked. “What were our conversations about? If you tell me that, I should be able to remember you.” He had no memory of what we might have talked about. It was evident that he was certain that anybody who met him – even just looked at him! – could never forget the experience. I suppose that my need for keywords to navigate to my library-brain makes me as weird as he was, trusting in his physical charisma.

Early on in my Vancouver days an instance of his careless joviality incensed me, and in front of one of his girlfriends I told him off, in vulgar fashion. This is what Michael said to me in response: “Bob, I think we have different senses of humour. That shouldn’t create divisions between us.”

That effort at de-escalation successfully muted and well as calmed down that angry part of me, and *hugely* impressed the teacher in me – I tell this story to my students – and I never had a cross word with him again. Indeed, after that I was always kind of happy to see him.

One thing more. He made sure that when he entered any room, he made it brighter, for awhile at least. And that is really something – & not easy.


  sanjose61 wrote @

Sorry for your loss, and your brother’s loss. Most people have some narcissism. Some people have the gift of a bright spirit. May Michael rest in peace.

  Robert Basil wrote @

I am grateful for your words.

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